Studios are keener than ever to take a cut from this multibillion-dollar industry – but even the best games rarely inspire good films
As recent efforts – Tomb Raider, Assassin’s Creed, Warcraft – continue to show, video games rarely make great movies. If ever. Dwayne Johnson’s new epic Rampage might change all this, just as giant, genetically modified wolves might fly, but the source material was hardly that compelling to start with, partly because it was already a mish-mash of movie tropes. In the original Rampage arcade game, you could be King Kong, Godzilla or a werewolf and you basically had to re-enact a city-trashing scene out of a monster movie. Now, see the movie of the game of the movie!
To turn it around, however, games already have taken over the movies. Look at Johnson’s last mega-hit, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. It wasn’t based on an existing game(nor was it a feature-length Guns N’ Roses song, which was a disappointment to some), but Jumanji did involve characters being sucked into a video game world, for all manner of entertaining body-swap action-adventure. One of the reasons Jumanji worked so well was because it was structured like a game. The set-up was crystal-clear: to get back home, the characters had to go through various levels, collect clues and Get the Thing (in this case, the “Jaguar’s eye”). Furthermore, the characters had their avatar’s skills and three lives each. As a movie targeted at younger viewers, it worked a treat. You knew who the characters were, where they were going and what they had to do to “win”. So many family movies forget this – A Wrinkle in Time, for instance.